Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins from San Diego said Tuesday California State University faculty need to be better paid and urged the university system’s leaders to negotiate a “reasonable resolution” to the current labor dispute.
“CSU built up a lot of goodwill in the Legislature this year…Stonewalling on needed and deserved salary increases for faculty will chip away at legislators’ confidence in the system, and maintaining that confidence is imperative as we fight to bring additional funding to CSU,” Atkins said.
Her comments came after more than 1,000 faculty members and their supporters rallied outside a CSU Board of Trustees meeting in Long Beach to continue their push for a 5 percent salary increase.
CSU is offering a 2 percent pay raise, and members of the California Faculty Association have already voted to authorize a strike if the union is unable to reach a contract agreement covering 25,000 professors at the 23-campus system.
Atkins, who, as Speaker of the Assembly serves on the board of trustees, was in Long Beach to participate in the board meeting. She also attended the rally outside the meeting.
Atkins said CSU was taking the system to the brink of strike by insisting it cannot raise faculty pay by more than 2 percent , even though CSU faculty members at all campuses are working at below-2004 wages.
“There is still time to fix things, and I urge the CSU administration to go back to the bargaining table and find a reasonable resolution that properly values faculty and addresses the fact that faculty need to be better paid,” Atkins said.
Lori Lamb, CSU vice chancellor for human relations, said compensation issues are and have been a priority for the system. She said a 5 percent increase rather than a 2 percent increase would create a $68.9 million funding gap, which could balloon to $107.2 million when other labor unions ask for the same increase.
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